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Today: The late Big Joe Turner was born in 1911 – 102 years ago

Big Joe Turner

The premier blues shouter of the postwar era, Big Joe Turner’s roar could rattle the very foundation of any gin joint he sang within — and that’s without a microphone. Turner was a resilient figure in the history of blues — he effortlessly spanned boogie-woogie, jump blues, even the first wave of rock & roll, enjoying great success in each genre.
~Bill Dahl (allmusic.com)

Shake, Rattle & Roll:


Birth name Joseph Vernon Turner Jr
Also known as The Boss of the Blues
Born May 18, 1911
Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Died November 24, 1985 (aged 74)
Inglewood, California, United States
Genres Jump blues, rock and roll, swing music
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1920s – 1980s
Labels Atlantic, National, Vocalion,Decca, Pablo
Associated acts Pete Johnson, Count Basie Orchestra

Big Joe Turner (born Joseph Vernon Turner Jr., May 18, 1911 – November 24, 1985) was an American “blues shouter” (a blues-music singer capable of singing unamplified with a band) from Kansas City, Missouri. According to the songwriter Doc Pomus, “Rock and roll would have never happened without him.” Although he had his greatest fame during the 1950s with his rock and roll recordings, particularly “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, Turner’s career as a performer endured from the 1920s into the 1980s. Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.


Oh Well, Oh Well:


  • The late The New York Times music critic Robert Palmer, said: “…his voice, pushing like a Count Basie solo, rich and grainy as a section of saxophones, which dominated the room with the sheer sumptuousness of its sound.”
  • In announcing Turner’s death in their December 1985 edition, the British music magazine, NME, described Turner as “the grandfather of rock and roll.”
  • Songwriter Dave Alvin wrote a song about an evening that he spent with Turner titled “Boss Of The Blues”. It was on his 2009 release, Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women.

Dave Alvin – Boss Of The Blues (live):

Playlist of the day:

Other May-18:

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